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Chocolate-Cherry Babka Bread

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  • Prep 30 min
  • Total 1 hr 25 min
  • Ingredients 9
  • Servings 6
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It might look and taste like something you’d find at a fancy bakery, but this pretty twisted bread is actually a surprisingly easy DIY! Pillsbury™ French bread dough gets filled with sweet cherries, chocolate chips and chopped pecans, then twisted and baked in a loaf pan for an impressive, indulgent brunch bread. Don’t forget to serve it with the cherry-honey topping!
Updated Nov 13, 2018
Bake-Off® Contest 49, 2019
Thomas Piantek
Brentwood, Tennessee
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  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (11 oz) refrigerated Pillsbury™ Original French Bread
  • 3 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; line with cooking parchment paper, extending up and over sides.
  • 2
    In small microwavable bowl, microwave cherries and water uncovered on High 1 minute. Let stand 5 minutes. Drain cherries, reserving 1 teaspoon cherry juice in small bowl. Place cherries on paper towel; pat dry.
  • 3
    Chop half of the pecan halves; set aside. Reserve remaining pecan halves for topping. In small microwavable bowl, microwave 1 tablespoon of the butter uncovered on High 15 to 20 seconds or until melted. Add 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar and the cinnamon; stir until smooth. Set aside.
  • 4
    Carefully unroll dough onto work surface. Fold dough in half, bringing long sides together. Press or roll dough to 18x6-inch rectangle. Spoon and spread powdered sugar mixture over dough to within 1/2-inch of edges. Sprinkle with cherries, chopped pecans and chocolate chips. Starting with longest side, roll dough tightly into log; seal edges. Cut log in half crosswise. Carefully braid pieces together; seal edges. Place braided loaf, seam side down, in pan.
  • 5
    Bake 34 to 38 minutes or until golden brown.
  • 6
    Carefully lift loaf from pan using sides of cooking parchment paper; place on cooling rack. Cool 10 minutes.
  • 7
    Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, mix remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, the reserved cherry water and the honey. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Stir in reserved pecan halves; remove from heat.
  • 8
    Place loaf on serving platter. Spoon and spread honey mixture over top and sides of loaf.

Nutrition Information

340 Calories, 11g Total Fat, 5g Protein, 55g Total Carbohydrate, 30g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
4 1/2g
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
3 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • I remember the wonderful smells of bread baking that came from Grandma’s kitchen. Sometimes it was filled with smells of cinnamon bread, raisin bread, apricot bread or, of course, her chocolate bread. It made any day special. I always wanted to be able to make some of Grandma’s special breads, twisted into beautiful shapes. When I became a teenager, I remember asking my mom if it was hard to make a yeast bread. She just smiled and told me it took lots of practice to really bake yeast bread. That night after everyone was in bed, I came down to the kitchen and found a Pillsbury™ cookbook containing bread recipes. Mom was right—it took me almost all night to make that bread, but I did it. Of course, everyone in the family was surprised to find my puffy little bread sitting on the table in the morning. I really felt so proud that I was finally a bread baker too. When I thought about entering the Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest, I recalled my Grandma’s babka breads twirled with delicious fillings. I decided to shortcut the dough when I found Pillsbury™ French bread at the store. This made bread baking easy, so I just mixed up some chocolate-cherry filling to swirl around inside. There was no rising and waiting, and it was finished in just 35 minutes in the oven. I spooned some honey topping over it and added pecans for crunch. It was just like Grandma’s breads, only easier. I bet Grandma would be proud of me.
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